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Is the Hypothalamus to blame?


Kitsakatsa
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Patti and Steph, you replied to my nausea question and said that you had seen strange things happening with hunger. My Internal Med doc (who is working constantly to understand POTS) came across an article somewhere in a Journal that put forth the theory that POTS is cause by severe damage to the hypothalamus. And, it all makes sense..chills, hunger, nausea, no sweating, abnormal sweat tests, regulation of body systems etc. The more I read about the hypothalamus, the more these symptoms seem to make sense!

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According to my POTS Dr and at my recent appt with Dr Grubb they explained the hypothalamus was the main problem..... it is the epicenter of the Autonomic nervous system...it is in control of sending out all the signals from the brain to the different parts of the body ..it controls sweat, heart rate, BP, Fluid balance, etc...

WIth the ANS system what is so complex is that just 1 signal can go to 15 or more places in the body.

Hope this helps some! :angry:

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That makes alot of sense but I wonder how we damaged our hypothalamus? If they can perform reconstructive brain surgery than why can't anyone figure us out?????? I know everyone has questions like these I'm just having a bad pots week and am feeling angry wishing there was more research into the management of our problems. The doctors have access to fix others who's conditions aren't as life altering when is it going to be our turn????????

I wish I would have gone to medical school or something so I could have answers to all of this.... Maybe one of my kids will become a doctor.

Just venting

dayna

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Hi Dayna - from what I understood the hypothalamus can be effected by many thingl such as a viral episode, bacterial episode ..in my case it was Lyme Disease that caused it... And a number of other things that I am forgetting....

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Maybe the damage is in utero. Who knows. Some of us are born with propensities for things. My mom smoked and dranked and I was an abruption birth. Who knows. Maybe we never will, like so many other things. But all things like this are slow and hard to figure out. We need the Jonas Salk of ANS to figure things out. And somewhere out there is a Jonas waiting to happen. It would have been more helpful to US if he's been around back then, but not to worry, he's out there now, or on his way. morgan

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Morgan, in reference to your comment about "We need the Jonas Salk of ANS to figure things out. And somewhere out there is a Jonas waiting to happen. It would have been more helpful to US if he's been around back then, but not to worry, he's out there now, or on his way."

Don't forget that this Jonas could be a "Joanah" - a pioneering smart woman scientist who finds all the answers and a cure for us! :P

G

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What an interesting article. I've never heard of this before and don't remember Dr. Grubb mentioning it either (although I don't remember much these days).

Morgan, you mention the possibility of the damage being done in utero. I have oftened wondered the same. Chrissy is a twin, her brother is 'normal'--no problems whatsoever. They were 10 weeks premature, yet every Dr. we've brought this up to doesn't think it has anything to do with anything. I find it hard to believe, although Chrissy didn't get POTS until after an outbreak of bronchitis at 15 1/2 we often wonder if there were underlying POTS episodes that we just didn't pick up on at an earlier age.

Patti

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Everything Jenn said plus chemical balance or electrolytes.

This is one of the first things that Dr. Grubb talks about when you see him. He draws a diagram and explains the way the brain plays a part in all of your symptoms. He said that a signal is broken or lost somewhere and they can't always tell if it's going into the hypothalamus or leaving it. But depending on some of your symptoms they can tell what part of the brain it's effecting that day.

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My understanding was that they were still uncertain whether POTS was an autonomic nervous system problem primarily, or whether hypovolumia/barocontsriction of arteries or hyporenin levels were causing the nervous system to compensate, creating neurohyperirritability.

I guess if its the ANS that is the problem then perhaps the hypothalamus could be at fault, but this small pod in the brain also regulates thyroid function, adrenal function and other glandular hormones - surely if it was damaged - wouldnt we see problems with the functions of these systems in POTS patients?

My understanding of the nausea with POTS was due to vasoconstriction in the brain - very similar to the beginning of a migraine.

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Hi Ramekentesh - Yes It is all of thee above that you mentioned....

AGain from what I got from Dr Grubb's appt, we do not all have POTS for the same reason..... For instance Mayo clinic and Grubb just made a huge coorelation between people with hypermobility syndrome and POTS like symptoms....

In these epeople it is more a vascular problem then an Autonomic one... Although one can have several different things going on at once...

For instance I have hypermobility, as well as being infected with Chronic Lyme....So I have a Vascular problem, on top of the Lyme Disease causing a problem in the connection between the hypothalamus and the brain....whihc does effect my ANS to an extent although not to the point some have....

I think this condition is SO complex, but I was happy to hear they have had some new knowledge this year......

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thanks for your reply.

My point was more that it seems to make sense that its the autonomic nervous system that is at fault rather than the hypothalamus. ofcourse it could well be the hypothalamus as no one really knows, but if it was, you would expect more than just the ANS to be effected - you would expect pituitary and/or thyroid and/or adrenal problems as well, and generally this isnt the case with POTS, it purely an autonomic nervous system and cardio-vascular/blood volume issue.

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  • 12 years later...

My daughter and son both have POTS as well as many other issues. Both started with puberty and daughter's improved dramatically at age 25 (my son is 15 now). I have always had a theory that may sound crazy but the theory involves the hypothalamus and the enlarged pituitary gland. With puberty, the pituitary gland generally becomes larger and may be larger until  age around the mid 20's. My daughter's pituitary was always "large and globular" on MRI's throughout her teens.  My theory is that the enlargement of the pituitary takes up more space in the brain which could put pressure on the hypothalamus making the hypothalamus not work properly. This would explain why POTS begins at puberty and with many patients ends or improves when someone reaches their mid 20's.  Sounds crazy but I think this theory could have merit. 

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On 4/21/2005 at 9:20 AM, DSM3KIDZ said:

That makes alot of sense but I wonder how we damaged our hypothalamus? If they can perform reconstructive brain surgery than why can't anyone figure us out?????? I know everyone has questions like these I'm just having a bad pots week and am feeling angry wishing there was more research into the management of our problems. The doctors have access to fix others who's conditions aren't as life altering when is it going to be our turn????????

I wish I would have gone to medical school or something so I could have answers to all of this.... Maybe one of my kids will become a doctor.

Just venting

dayna

Gluten and the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.

The following is information from two articles about this topic.  I have clipped small parts out of the article.  To read full articles click on the links

Gluten-brain connection

Brain Inflammation and Gluten

Gluten has been shown in multiple studies to decrease blood flow to the brain. Our carotid arteries carry oxygenated blood and nutrients to the brain. So when blood flow decreases (the  main issue we see in a person consuming gluten that’s sensitive to it), we’re going to see results such as brain fog and maybe even migraines. So there is a connection between brain inflammation and gluten—the literature already supports this.

See this for NCGS information and the brain:   https://justinhealth.com/gluten-sensitivity-and-brain-health/

 

 

(derived in large part from a lecture James V. Croxton, M.A. summer 2002)

Also this is an article from a Gluten Brain article.

Since the fats and oils we eat become both structural and functional components of the “barrier” membranes in our bodies, such as the cell membranes, gut wall and the blood-brain barrier, another result of lipid malabsorption (from eating gluten) could be a less-reliable blood-brain barrier. In those parts of the brain where the blood-barrier is purposely “thin,” such as areas close to the middle of the brain (parts of the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland – the paraventricular regions) the insufficient or imbalanced lipid components certainly would be expected to affect many functions. These areas of the brain have much to do with basic motives and behaviors dealing with food intake, thirst, sexuality, sleep regulation, etc.

Another factor is related to the concept “cerebral allergy.”  This is a concept supported by just a few hundred medical doctors and psychiatrists. It became increasingly apparent in the 1990s that there are immune system defenses in the brain, and that the microglia can be recruited and even reprogrammed to do the work. Experiments show that microglia can be stimulated to “change roles” and produce a cascade of cytokines (the “cell-movers” that can produce, maintain and increase the inflammation response. Because we cannot feel brain tissue – it is not “engineered” to signal to us its own changes – hence there is no pain, itching, etc. Inflammation involves swelling, increased blood flow, increased temperature, itching or pain or both – none of this can be felt in the brain unless severe. This must be one of the strongest reasons for people with brain-based disorders denying that anything is wrong with their brains.

The cerebral allergy concept depended on the assumptions of clinicians who believed that brain tissue is subject to “local Inflammation” and that this caused unusual or abnormal symptoms. The “allergens” could be proteins in foods such as alpha-gliadin in wheat, volatile gases such as fumes of toluene, certain chemicals in perfumes or cosmetics, and so on. The symptoms could be very diverse: unusual behaviors (paralleling symptoms of toxic psychosis), altered motivations (changes in hunger or sexuality), sudden emotional upsets (intense, unreasonable jealousy or inexplicable grief), etc. Any of these, along with altered perceptions and thinking, can happen. Neurons and glia function differently (“abnormally”) when disturbed by heat, pressure, pH changes and cytokine effects.

In this hypothesis, celiac disease could be a specific kind of cerebral allergy, with ongoing disruption in gut tissue, and increasingly intense and diverse symptoms involving depression, paranoia, hallucinations and delusions (but not all of these at once). The good news is that celiac disease, when identified early enough, is controlled with a very careful diet. You never get over the illness, but you also never get over being glad you found out what it was.

From an informal survey of about 20 people with gluten related sensitivity, >90% reported improvement from a gluten-free diet.  All spoke of delayed learning prior to a gluten free diet either in themselves or their children.  Some of the physiological, cognitive, and emotional symptoms they reported with dietary avoidance of gluten included:

Original article: http://www.drkaslow.com/html/gluten-brain_connection_.html

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